• Anne Heaney, Director

Macy's expands its pop-up marketplace

Macy's on Tuesday announced it is partnering with b8ta to expand Market @ Macy's, a pop-up shop within its stores. As part of that partnership, Macy's has taken a minority stake in b8ta, which helps brands build out physical stores.

For Macy's, the announcement is the latest in a series of moves to transform the shopping experience with technology and investments. The retailer has some of the best real estate compared with its department store peers, but has had to rethink the use of that space, as the draw of merchandise is no longer enough to bring shoppers to stores.

Macy's just last month announced its acquisition of New York-based Story, a shop that rotates merchandise based on a theme every few months.

"We are deeply committed to creating an in-store experience that is new, compelling and exciting," said Marc Mastronardi, Macy's EVP of business development. "The model that Story has built in their location [in New York] is entirely about experiential retail ... [and] the same concept is behind Market @ Macy's and b8ta."

Market originally launched in February as a pop-up concept in just 10 of Macy's stores. As part of the program, the retailer opened its ground floor to brands that don't yet have their own locations. After positive initial feedback, Macy's now plans to expand Market more broadly.

"We learned that the idea of newness for the consumer in physical retail is really attractive to our customer and to our brand partners," Mastronardi said.

It's "too early" to answer whether shoppers in Market are translating into more spending elsewhere in the store, but the pop-up concept is creating an "overall halo" for the store's shopping experience.

At Buying Intelligence we are helping retailers navigate the many market changes and initiatives that are impacting their business.

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